What makes a good boss according to Google

Google decided in 2009 to apply its prowess at technical research and analysis to find out what made great managers stand out from merely good or bad ones. It analyzed mountains of performance reviews, surveys, and other sources of information and submitted them to extensive crunching, pulling apart “more than 10,000 observations about managers—across more than 100 variables,” according to the paper. The main result was a list of “eight good behaviors.”

1. Be a good coach.
2. Empower your team and don’t micromanage.
3. Express interest in team members’ success and personal well-being.
4. Don’t be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented.
5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team.
6. Help your employees with career development.
7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team.
8. Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickallen/2011/03/13/google-figures-out-what-makes-a-great-boss/#23e7daad7111

Love, change

For the first time in a few years, change abounds. New opportunities, new people, new ways of working. Change is a friend not a foe and often signals opportunity more often than not. Each change seemingly a positive bit of momentum towards something better.

Art or business?

Jill Magid, the artist, reframing a situation:

In 2002, as an artist in residence at the Rijksakademie, in Amsterdam, Magid began noticing the large number of surveillance cameras in the city—anonymous gray boxes, mounted on everything from the corners of buildings to coffee-shop awnings. One February morning, she went to the police headquarters and explained that she was an artist interested in decorating the municipal cameras with rhinestones. She was directed to the appropriate police administrators, who told her that they did not work with artists. She thanked them and left. A few weeks later, Magid returned, armed with business cards and a corporate-speak sales pitch, presenting herself as the Head Security Ornamentation Professional at System Azure, a company that she had made up. The police not only allowed her to bedazzle the cameras but even paid her a couple of thousand dollars. “I realized that they could not hear me when I spoke as an artist,” Magid later said. “This had nothing to do with what I proposed but with who I was.”

Source: The New Yorker

The mind of an architect

In the early 1950s, the Institute of Personality Assessment and Research (IPAR) at the University of California, Berkeley began developing new and different ways to analyze personalities. The scientists at IPAR attempted what many thought was impossible: to study creativity in a methodical and scientific way, working to determine what specific personality traits make certain people creative.

IPAR found that creative people tend to be nonconforming, interesting, interested, independent, courageous and self-centered, at least in general. Creatives could make unexpected connections and see patterns in daily life, even those lacking high intelligence or good grades.

Source: http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/the-mind-of-an-architect/

Time capsule

In 2012, Russian workers repairing a statue of Lenin unearthed a time capsule with a letter from a Soviet youth group from 1979. It reads, in part: ‘‘Let your character be courageous. Let your songs be happier. Let your love be hotter. We do not feel sorry for ourselves, because we are certain you will be better than us.’’

— Source: NYTimes

On controlling the narrative

There are different ways to control a narrative. There’s the old-fashioned way: Classify documents that you don’t want seen and, as Gates said, ‘‘keep mum on the details.’’ But there’s also the more modern, social-media-savvy approach: Tell the story you want them to believe. Silence is one way to keep a secret. Talking is another. And they are not mutually exclusive.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/18/magazine/what-do-we-really-know-about-osama-bin-ladens-death.html

Holacracy: all voices matter

…an organization, like a plane, is equipped with sensors in the form of its people, all of whom are capable of sensing the reality around them. Unfortunately, in command-and-control organizations, not everyone’s voice matters–some voices are considered more important than others. Consequently, the voices of the supposed less important people, like the low-voltage indicator, can be ignored because they have no vehicle for processing their insights into meaningful action.

— Brian Robertson, the creator of holacracy. Source: Huffington Post

Better one-to-ones

Of all the things I do in my job, one-to-one’s are my favourite – yeah I know, crazy eh? I love talking with my team about their ideas, challenges, goals; giving (and getting) feedback; and helping them (and me) grow. And I’m sure they were Captain Kirk’s favourite too.

Check out my latest article on Medium about running better one-to-ones.

Curve balls

I tweaked a glute muscle in January at the track. I had a minor slip on some water, but at the root of it was some weakness that I should have long ago tended to. So I’ve been off running largely, relegated to short under 5k runs when I can (the exception was a 10k trail race in North Vancouver that I did at the end of February).

As one of my t-shirts says “Not Running Sucks”. What I miss the most is the peace and thinking time it affords me. When running it’s just me and there are few times when I am alone.

I’m hoping to be back at things soon. The physiotherapist has me on the mend with a batch of exercises and some unreal stretches. I’m still pondering a May BMO half marathon after a decent 8k this past weekend and looking forward to being back on-track with my running goals.